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Instagram tips to promote your retail shop

Nowadays, social media is one of the best ways for businesses to reach and engage with customers. Instagram has over 1 billion active users, is easy to use and very visual which offers retailers a unique opportunity to showcase their products, build brand awareness, and connect with customers on a more personal level. 

In this article, we’ll explore some top tips for using Instagram to promote your retail shop and take your social media game to the next level.

Set up your profile for success

The most important tip is to create an Instagram profile that is consistent with the messaging on your other social media platforms and will help create a strong online presence and attract potential customers. 

Profile picture

Create a visually appealing and cohesive profile by choosing a profile picture that accurately represents your brand. Ideally, use a high-quality image of your logo, but if you don’t have a logo, an image of your shop or a product that best represents your brand will suffice.

Optimise your bio

In 150 characters, using relevant keywords, and your brand voice, you need to communicate your unique value proposition, what sets you apart from other stores and what you can offer your customers. 


Currently, Instagram only allows one link at the top of your profile, which you should use to send people to your website. However, there are many linking software platforms, such as Linktree and ContactInBio, which you can use to get around this. They let you create a list of links to your other social media platforms, your blog, your website, a sales page, product of the month, etc., and then you can use the single linking software link in Instagram.

Content is king

Everyone knows that content is king when it comes to social media, and your Instagram feed is no different. Being a visual platform, it’s important to create visually appealing and informative content that helps you showcase your products in a way that connects with potential customers. 

And that starts with choosing the right type of content. 

What content do I choose?

On Instagram, you can choose from the following formats; photos, videos, stories, or reels. There are two sides to Instagram content; your feed and your stories. Photos and videos are great for promoting your products on your feed, while stories and reels help you create short, engaging content that showcases your brand’s personality. An easy analogy to remember is that your feed is your magazine, with polished and ‘perfect’ pictures and videos, and your stories and reels are your behind-the-scenes reality TV show.

Consider what content best showcases your products and brand, and experiment with different formats to see what resonates with your followers. Using combinations of different content types can help you create a well-rounded and engaging Instagram profile for your retail store.


Photos are the most commonly used type of Instagram content. They can be used to showcase your products, highlight features, and create visually appealing content. You can also enhance them with editing tools, such as filters.


Videos are a great way to show off your products in motion, provide helpful tutorials, or showcase behind-the-scenes content. They can be up to 60 seconds long and posted in your main feed, Instagram stories, or IGTV. You can also consider adding music to make your videos more engaging.


Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours but are great for sharing quick updates, behind-the-scenes content, or sneak peeks of new products. You can also add interactive features, such as polls or questions, to encourage engagement from your followers.


Reels, Instagram’s newest content format, allows you to create short videos up to 30 seconds long. They are great for creating fun and engaging content, such as product demos, tutorials, or showcasing your store’s personality, and you can also use Instagram’s built-in music library and add special effects to enhance them.

Use high-quality visuals

To showcase your products and ensure your photos stand out in a sea of content, it’s vital that your images are high-resolution, shot with good lighting and from interesting angles. You could also consider using a constant aesthetic or theme to give your feed (the magazine) a cohesive look and feel.

Image captions

You have 2,200 characters available for your Instagram captions, i.e., the text that accompanies your visual. Use them to tell a story, provide details, interesting facts, or highlight features about your products, or offer tips on how to use your products. Don’t forget to include relevant hashtags, you can use a maximum of 30, to help users discover your content.

Video captions

By adding captions to your videos, you can create content that is more inclusive and accessible for viewers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or non-native speakers. Additionally, they can make your videos more engaging by providing context, highlighting key points, or adding humour.

Post consistently

To maintain a constant online presence and continual engagement with your followers, you need to post regularly, and for accounts with less than 10k followers, the ideal schedule is three times a week. It’s definitely worth creating a content calendar so you can plan your posts ahead of time. This helps you stay organised and ensure that you are posting content that resonates with your followers. You can also save time by batch-scheduling posts. If you have created your account as a business account, and switching is very easy, you can schedule up to 25 posts a day, 75 days in advance, according to the Instagram Help page. Alternatively, you can use social media scheduling software to schedule your posts, which works well if you have other social media platforms.

Build a loyal following

Building a community of followers is critical to any business’s success on Instagram. Having, hopefully, identified your target audience early in your marketing endeavours, it’s easier to create content that speaks to their interests and concerns. By engaging with your community through posts and stories, you can build a sense of trust and loyalty that can translate into brand affinity and turn them into repeat customers who love your product or service.

Use Instagram’s built-in features to engage with users

Instagram offers several built-in features, such as likes, comments, and direct messages that you can use to engage with your followers. Responding to comments and direct messages, as well as liking and commenting on other users’ posts, can help you build relationships with your followers and increase engagement on your own posts. You can even ask your followers to share a picture of their favourite thing that they’ve seen on your account, or tag someone who might want to know more about your product or service.

Collaborate with other local businesses

Collaborating with other local businesses helps you create a unique experience for your customers and reach a wider audience. Followers of both businesses will be able to see other brands, while you get to share your story and show off your product or service. You could also host a joint event, create a product bundle with another local business, or invite an influencer to take over your Instagram account for a day.

Host contests, giveaways, and other promotions

Hosting contests, giveaways, and other promotions can encourage engagement and increase your followers. However, it’s important to remember that this strategy is only effective if you don’t force people to do something in exchange for entering the contest. This can result in a large number of disappointed participants, which can have negative effects on your business. You could host a photo contest, where users submit photos of themselves using your product or host a giveaway for a popular product. Make sure to promote your contest or giveaway on your other social media platforms and your website to maximise its reach.

Include sales or promo code details in your shopping posts

Adding sales or promo code details to your shopping posts can help you increase your click-through rate and even purchases. This is especially helpful if you’re selling a high-ticket item that requires a significant discount.

As of October 2021, all users should be able to add a link to their Instagram stories, but no one can add direct links to post captions. However, don’t let that put you off adding those details.

Leverage Instagram advertising

You can use Instagram’s advertising options to effectively promote your retail store, reach new audiences and drive more traffic and sales. As with any advertising, it’s important to remember to test different strategies and optimise your campaigns for maximum impact. 

From February 2023, Instagram will be removing its shopping tag feature that allows users to add shopping tags to products in their posts, but businesses will still be able to set up a shop and sell directly through the app.

Run targeted ads

Instagram’s targeted advertising allows you to reach specific audiences based on factors such as location, interests, and demographics. Running targeted ads can help you reach new customers who are likely to be interested in your products, driving more traffic to your website or store.

Partner with influencers 

Partnering with influencers or even micro-influencers can be an effective way to promote your products to a wider audience. Influencers can help increase brand awareness and drive sales by sharing sponsored posts featuring your products with their followers.

Analyse and adjust

Analysing your results and adapting your strategy is a critical step in optimising your strategy and ensuring that your Instagram efforts are driving real results for your retail store. By regularly measuring the success of your efforts, you can identify what types of content, hashtags, and promotions resonate most with your audience and adjust your strategy accordingly. 

Instagram insights and analytics

Like all social media platforms, Instagram offers built-in analytical tools that can help you track key metrics such as follower growth, post engagement, and audience demographics which will let you know what is and isn’t working on your Instagram profile.

What content does your audience enjoy?

From your metrics, you can identify which content types, hashtags, and promotions generate the most engagement and sales. And from this, you can adjust your strategy to focus on those areas.


Adjust your strategy

Use the insights you gain to adjust your strategy and optimise your results. For example, if you discover your audience engages most with videos, consider creating more video content. Or, if you find that specific hashtags generate more engagement, make sure you include them in your future posts.

Key takeaway

An effective Instagram strategy can help retail businesses looking to promote their products, stand out in a crowded marketplace and connect with customers in meaningful ways. 

By setting up a strong profile, crafting engaging content, building a community of followers, utilising Instagram’s advertising options, and analysing your results, you can establish a powerful presence on the platform and drive more traffic and sales for your retail store.

Remember, the social media landscape is always evolving, so it’s important to stay focused, consistent, open to learning and adapting as you go.

About Magic

Magic helps local businesses grow. Thousands of local businesses use Magic to get more online reviews, win new customers, easily manage customer conversations and grow sales. Magic offers these features:

  • Reviews: Get more reviews with easy review requests for popular review sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, TrustPilot, and more. Rank high on local search and enhance your visibility on Google. 
  • Inbox: Keep track of customer conversations across channels in one inbox, including SMS, Facebook, Instagram, and Gmail. Manage conversations better as a team and do more with industry specific templates. 
  • Text Marketing: Drive more sales with instant text campaigns and reach your customers at the right moment with automation. Use prebuilt templates to send out text campaigns in minutes. 
  • Webchat: Turn website visitors into customers with SMS powered Webchat. Chat to website visitors directly through SMS so you won’t miss a lead, even when they leave your website. 

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